tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 17, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
matthews, in washington tonight, bad men with dirty angry among. the guys funding the pro-romney super pacs are getting as dirty as possible as soon as possible. joe ricketts was looking to run adds linking obama with reverend wright. he said it was only a suggestion, but that came in a 54-page professionally bound campaign plan with color photos. mitt romney says he repudiates this, and then etch-a-sketch moment, accuses obama of character assassination. this from a guy who destroyed his opponents with negative personal adds, and romney hearts bill clinton? he says he has more in common
with clinton than obama because. he champions tax rates that romney invest will destroy the family. the only thing they have in common is that clinton once had the job that romney wants, and there's a major effort from keeping kathleen sebelius from speaking tomorrow at georgetown. and what we should do if we really want to reduce the number of abortions in this county trp. we begin with dirty angry money. we have chuck todd with us, and major garrett. the "new york times" reports on a poe poe sal from a republican strategist to dredge up jeremiah wright. the point was to show he really is a radical after all. here is some of the language.
our plan is to do exactly what john mccain would not let us do. show the world how barack obama's opinions were misguided. and why it has brought our country to it's knees. chuck todd, front page placement, the times played this baby big today. >> they did and let's look at it as political strategy. just watch how it consumed a day of the campaign. of the romney campaign. the idea this might come up as a potential ad, and it just shows you why a simple political strategy, this was a bad idea and this wasn't good advice. the idea that somehow mitt romney or the republican message machine should go off on another tangent and not be talking about the issues of the day or the economy, is simply bad political
strategy, and it threw romney off all day today. it has turned into bad business for mr. ricketts, who owns the cubs, which is in chicago. watching all of this, how it got as far as it did is mind boggling. it seems like bad political strategy and bad business for mr. ricketts. mitt romney saying he repudiates it, but watch. >> i read the article on the aircraft. as i read it, i want to make it clear i repudiate that effort. i think it's the wrong course for a pac or a campaign. i hope that our campaigns can respectively be about the future and issues and a vision for america. i have been disappointed in the
president's campaign to date which focused on character assassination. we can talk about a lot of things, but so far it has been character assassination, and my vision is the getting a brighter future for america. >> i read that newspaper on the aircraft. is this guy trying to learn earthling language here. no need to discuss it, it's just funny. >> what's decode what he was saying when he said two things. this campaign should be about the future, meaning don't talk about my past. what does the past mean? it means what? bain capital. character assassination, what does that mean? it might also mean my religious h
heritge. so what he is saying is let us take religion off the stage for both of us off the stage entirely. let's call that equal or nondiscussable and focus on the future. if you talk about bain, that hurts me more than my past might hurt me. >> what are you allowed to talk about about romney now, what's left? >> look, every campaign -- >> can you tk about him -- he running to be president of the united states, can we talk about him. >> i understand, but you understand also that every candidate tries to fence off that which they can. i was there when the jeremiah wright story broke. i interviewed candidate obama about it. he fenced off to the best of his ability, the jeremiah wright
story. here is what we will discuss and here is what we will not discuss. in romney's own way, whether you buy it or don't, he was trying to fence off or redirect that which is discussable and that which is not, and the context of the story that covered up the best news of the day which is that he ran $40 million to run against obama. >> czehuck, you study this all e time, we're only preseason, we're just getting started welcome but the preseason so far, the training program, we watched romney was very tough negative campaigning. basically a bombing of his opponents. he erased them as issues of his opponents, but he says don't talk about me or engage in character assassination. is that a way of saying any
attack on my background or business career is character assassination, meanwhile i will release the super pacs. >> it was an interesting strong man. i would say the difference with reverend right and bain, which is obama repudiated the things things wright said. will he do that with bain? to get the equivalent treatment he would have to do the equivalent of what candidate obama did with reverend right and the distance that he wanted to put between himself and reverend right with the church itself and some of the things he said. is that the message that mitt romney is trying to say? that he is setting himself up? i get it and i think they thought let's repudiate, but at the same time, let's reemphasize the fact that look, the obama campaign is throwing negative adds our way, let's see if some
of this mud will stick to them. i think it's a tough argument to make. i think you can get away with that and sort of believe opponents in the media to not touch the religious issue. it's part of the story he is trying to sell. >> let's take a look at what romney said on shawn hannity. let's put his record and the way he talks up here. let's go back to the hannity performance when he is in that theater. >> i think, again, that the president takes his philosophical leanings in this regard, not from those who are ardent believers have various faiths, but from those that would like to see merks moameri
secular. >> what do you make of that commentary there, major? hee is saying i don't know what is worse if he listened to jeremiah wright who he doesn't want to bring up, or listening to the lefties out there that don't believe in god. he is going from a believer and a nonbeliever, whacking him personally on religious bereaves and philosophy, and saying let's not get personal with my religion. what's the deal? >> that was then, this is now. that's a cliche in politics, culture, and a lot of american politics. that was when what was then. a primary context when romney is trying to evaluate certain values and core attack believes to likely republican voters. when that was sean hannity episode taped? february. now we're in mid to late may and it's a different context. the implicit premise of this tom
ricketts proposal is that john mccain made a political blunder -- >> that was romney contributing to black history month. ly not contribute from february. that was his tribute to black history month? whacking at him for his minister and religion when he is allowed to do it, and now he is saying we don't attack each others religions in may. why would you let him skip away from the standard he set? trash his religion and race here? why did he bring it up? what's he up to? no wonder this guy brought the ad campaign to him. he brought the ad campaign because he saw this guy was willing to play this card. he saw that john mccain was a man of honor and said i'm not going to play this card. then this new guy is desperate to get the job, he'll do it, so
i'll get a 54-page proposal for him. it hits the "new york times," and wait a minute, now the "new york times" finds out about it and he says he won't do it. he indicated before he would do it. he said personally i'm going against it, and then with your preliminary approval at the new york meeting. then they get caught red handed here, and all of a sudden their saying we're not going to do this. the times caught them, that's my thought. your thought, major? >> it's all part of the public record as you described and i described. everything is public record. you can evaluate romney what he said in february, why he said it then, and why he is repudiating it now. i'm inviting scrutiny of romney. he is laying it down in february. >> everything you say in politics in the course of a
campaign invites and deserves scrutiny. i'm not saying he doesn't deserve it, i'm saying it's part of the public record. >> his objectives are different then, if you don't like them now or then, then you don't vote for him. >> chuck, i'm story i'm shorting your time. >> this is the campaign we will see this year? will it be this level of take him in the ditch kind of fighting? >> i had a theory that the next 60 days will be a lot of these stories, the one or two day thing that's pop up. suddenly the debates will happen and recenter the conversation one final time. there's one more point about reverend right that the viewers here need to understand. on conservative media outlets, reverend right has never gone away as an issue. last night before the story hit, on hannity they talked about
reverend wright. it is a dog whistle, a talking point, a regular conservative sledge hammer if you will on the president. his name has very high id among conservatives. that's why i question this with political strategy. i think it does not play well, and you just sit there and i'm surprised the people involved with this thought it was good politics. >> i have to go, i'm sorry, more the next time you're on. thank you so much as always. thank you from the white house. coming up, we'll ask the strategist about the reverend wright issue. why are we talking about it? romney was talking about it in february. now they have a 54-page information about the ad. this is "hardball," a place for politics. ♪
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he blue the guys away talking about their baggage. thank you very much. it's great to have you on. what do you make of the front page of the "new york times" today at the top of the fold there romney uses od language saying i read that on the aircraft. >> why does he talk like that. people say i get off of the airplane or the plane. he said i read it on the aircraft. >> i don't think he lost any votes. i think it has as much to do about nothing. the plan is not going anywhere. the plan putting up the money says he's not going to do. >> because he got caught. >> it wasn't a good idea in the first place. >> let's look at this. when john mccain trailed barack obama, mccain refused to run ads
attacking obama's connection by reverend wright. it was featured on game change. let's look at this scene. >> these numbers show it. we have to make this about obama. we have to get tough, and we have to get negative. >> if we go this way, reverend wright is still the best play we have. >> any of you ever been accused of having a negro child out of wedlock because your adopted daughter was born in bangladesh. and then when she pfs 16 and googled her name, i had to explain why she was called a bastard when she was 10 years old. >> south carolina was an ugly thing. reverend wright really did say
those things. >> that may be true, but there was a dark side to american populism, i'm not one of those people. >> how do you spin this, todd? you know, your candidate, romney, uses the references to wright, we just caught him doing it in february. and this ad campaign guy, fred davis is trying to sell him on a 54-page proposal, and he thought romney would do it. >> not romney, his people. >> we can be cute, okay. >> it's a bad strategy for two reasons. obama is most vulnerable on economic issues. we're not talking about the failed promises to turn the campaign around. >> so why did they have preliminary approval. >> so why if it's a lousy idea. >> that doesn't mean they agree with the strategy. the second thing is most voters think this has already been
prosecuted. this came up in 2008, and obama was elected. to bring it up now will feel like old news. >> how will you exploit this. >> i don't think the president benefits from an extended conversation about reverend wright. i think most think it's litigated and racist, and they reject it. independent voters, the people that will make the decision about this election would be offended by this. the reason it was seriously considered is because it's a bunch of rich fools thinking about how can we swift boat barack obama. >> let's look at this afternoon, while repudiating the attacks about jeremiah wright. he talks about character assassination. >> i have been disappointed on the president's came pain to date focussing on character assassination. we are wise tore talk about the issue of the day.
get america working again, talk about our records, and with that i hope you get a chance to see our first ad. that will come up in a couple days. it will be a positive ad about the things i would do if i was president. it's contrasting the president's ad that was a character assassination ad. >> this is talking points. >> he is absolutely right. look, the obama campaign even telegraphed this to the political koe late last year when they said our strategy is going to be to destroy him. we're going to undercut his credibility, make him not likable, call him weird which is code for talking about mormonism. . >> who said that? >> senior baobama campaign advisors, i think it's credible. >> can we go back to the question, which is mitt romney's ror. a record of creating great wealth but not any jobs.
>> you're not supposed to talk about bain, that's character assassination. >> is that character assassination? >> it's legitimate to say let's look at mitt romney's record on jobs. destroying jobs, laying people off, taking away benefits and pensions. he had the fourth worst job creation in the country when he was governor. he doesn't want to talk about his entire business career, most of is life. should not talk about his family or religion, what's left? >> his business record -- >> it's character assassination to distort his business record. we have a statement just off the wires here about the wright issue from the obama campaign, "obama had the opportunity to distance himself from his previous attempts to inject the politics of clark for assassination in the race. it was a moment that required moral leadership and he did not rise to occasion.
in the campaign he has refused to stand up to the most extreme voices in the republican party. this is the lip he was shown in the campaign trail what can the american people expect of him as president of the united states. >> know how the moral leadership the obama campaign gets, they have already started to try and raise money on this issue. >> wouldn't you? >> it's a political issue, but don't be all high and mighty. >> tell me right now, romney will not talk about reverend right the whole campaign. >> i don't think will. >> he already did. we showed him in february doing it. >> he stopped doing it -- >> is the left going to stop talking about him being a mor mob. >> i'm asking you. >> is lawrence o donnell going
to be talking about mormonism? >> romney squirmed away this morning, he will not go near this issue for the rest of the campaign. it will backfire. >> no more reverend wright. >> i'm still waiting for your answer, will he use reverend right? >> i don't think he will, it would be a mistake. >> he already has done it, thank you both. up next, the late night comics have advice for romney, i'm sure it will be positive, this is "hardball." wake up!
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plenty of other notable quotes. just listen conan. >> i'm offering a real choice, a new beginning. we believe in ourselves, our greatest days are ahead. >> the other guys are talking about everything but the economy. >> you have a shirt on, and the girls have tops. i am allowed to say what i'm not allowed to say. i'm over 13 now. >> here is david letterman happened when george romney when the elevator doors were closing. >> we have a simulation of what george bush must have looked like endorsing romney from the
elevator doors. >> i strongly stand with mitt romney. also, have you noticed that president obama avoids mentioned mitt romney in speeches like when he criticized the policies of "some people running for a certain office that should not be named" joe biden has been on a campaign blitz and he wasn't so coy. >> romney talks about restructuring the economy and it's fundamentally about making money. here is the crooks of his argument. his investors came in, and eight years later, the company was bankrupt. romney's investors walked away with $12 million. the governor did not take governor romney's advice. romney, romney, romney. romney, romney said "i'll take a
lot of credit for the fact that the industry has come back." whoa. by the way i'll take a lot of credit for a man having landed on the moon. because although i was in school, i rooted for it. >> see what i mean? 19 direct shots in today's speech alone. why are republicans digging up four-year-old attack lines against president obama. we have the birthers that have yet to put to bed that issue. this is u.s. congressman mike coffman at a fundraiser last week. >> i don't know if barack obama was born in the united states or not. i don't know. but i do know this, that in his heart, he's not an american. he's just not an american. coffman found himself back petaling that one this week in a quote that says "i have
confidence in president obama's zip and elect ma si as president of the united states of america but i don't think he shares my beliefs. his policies reflect that -- >> so this congressman says the president is an undocumented alien, and he isout right un-american. who votes for these od ducks and political quakes? up next, mitt romney wants you to believe that he has more in common with bill clinton than obama does. [ male announcer ] the inspiring story of how a shipping giant can befriend a forest may seem like the stuff of fairy tales. but if you take away the faces on the trees... take away the pixie dust. take away the singing animals, and the storybook narrator... [ man ] you're left with more electric trucks. more recycled shipping materials... and a growing number of lower emissions planes... which still makes for a pretty enchanted tale. ♪ la la la [ man ] whoops, forgot one... [ male announcer ] sustainable solutions. fedex. solutions that matter.
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million in march. jurors will begin deliberations on friday. fans are mourning the death of donna summer, the star died today of cancer. she was 63. now back to "hardball." >> welcome back to "hardball," mitt romney is testing out a strategy for driving a wedge between obama and centralist that embrace bill clinton. there are many problems with the strategy beginning with this, romney opposes everything bill clinton supports. we have alex wagner from the host of now, the highly successful program that cops on earlier than this. here is mitt romney stirring the pot in des moines this tuesday,
two days ago, let's watch. >> president clun ton was signaling to his own party that democrats should no longer try to governor by proposing a new program for every problem. president obama tucked away the clinton doctrine in his large drawer of his carded ideas with transparency and bipartisanship. it's snuff to make you wonder if it was a personal beef with the clintons, but it probably runs much deeper than that. >> who writes this, he is reaching it off of the tell prompter, and he is reading crap. he foldly came out for health care, and did all of this stuff, and he is saying he did all of that out of a personal beef, or tiff, with bill clinton. how can you say something -- is
it meant to be overstatement? >> first of all, if he were speaking to a democratic audience there, trying to get people who adored bill clinton, i might take it more seriously as a political tactic, but even then i wouldn't. it doesn't mean anything. ly say a couple other things. >> does it have any meaning at all? >> not really. first of all, i would let the sleeping big dog lie here, don't give bill clinton -- >> they hate bill clinton. >> but don't give him a right to be indignant in public and campaign for obama at the same time. giving how divided we are, take seriously praise of people in the other party. hay just don't. i don't know what he was trying to do. he thought he was trying to be clever and stir mischief. >> it was a star kas tick line aimed at stirring trouble, but what's it about? is this a theme coming here?
it's not surprising. they had a great analysis of this which is that a lot of presidential candidates do this. mccain did to some degree, bill clinton is important in politics. and, you know, romney is trying to exploit that, he has been tossing around the world liberal like nobody's business, and is trying to paint obama as an extremist. >> they impeached him! i'm sorry, they impeached him! two presidents in history got impeached for political reasons, he is one of them, he is great, he's the greatest thing since sliced bread, they impeached him. doesn't he have any history in that head of his or just talking points. >> i interrupted you, but it was important, he was impeached by
rps. >> of course, institutional memory is a thing of the past. let's not forget, if this was republican speaking in 1994, perhaps he would have more in common with bill clinton. but mitt romney these days we call him governor romney, he has been whitewashed. he would be more appropriate at chairman or ceo than governor. >> my only point is no democratic is going to take mitt romney's parade of bill clinton seriously. if you thought he was trying to lure democratic votes by exposing the democratic party, it's a waste of time. >> here he is in a debate this january, trying to explain why he didn't vote in the 1992
republican presidential primary. here is explaining who he is in january. >> in my state of massachusetts, you could register as an independent and go vote in either primary that happens to be interesting. any chance i could vote against bill clinton or ted kennedy i took. >> we like to report we have a videotape machine here, we can show what he says. i don't talk about jeremiah wright, we caught him doing it in february, and i voted against bill clinton in jan. thank god for tape. >> are we surprised, the flip flooper thing is the truth. it is very hard to understand what he is all about. the other thing, is don't wake the sleeping giant. bill clinton is still alive, he is still a king maker. he will disprove what romney is saying about him. they have institutional memory, they remember who their enemies
are, they remember what was said about them years ago, months ago, weeks ago, bill clinton is around and he will be out there in the campaign straight not for mitt romney but for barack obama. >> clinton raised taxes on the wealthy up to 39%, and the president wants to return to top rates to clinton area levels. mitt romney wants to lower the tax further. romney has vowed to repeal it, while clinton backed dodd frank financial reform, romney denied it. bill clinton, you're so good, i'm looking in the deep brain of one of my smartest colleges. he wants bill clinton to win because he would like his wife to be president. i don't know what she thinks yet. if this president gets beaten, it will be harder for her to be an incumbent because the business cycle will turn up
eventually. >> bill clinton's version of health care was more government oriented than obama's. so the romney comment makes no tense on that level. bill clinton wants to with the guy, short of hillly getting elected, to bring this in. bill clinton wants to be the guy called on to help in a great act of statesmanship to bring barack obama across the finish line. >> he wants to be the st. bernard that gets this guy in the snow and brings him hope. the big dog. >> got you to laugh, alex, that makes it off worthwhile. good luck with your show, you're doing great. health and human services kathleen sebelius is scheduled to speak but a lot of right wing catholics are out to keep her from talking. this is "hardball."
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the citizens of the vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? how does each of us remain firm in our principals and fight for what we consider right, without, as father john said, demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side? and of course nowhere in these questions do they come up more powerfully than on the issue of abortion. >> welcome back to "hardball." you saw president obama receive an honorary degree and give a commencement address .
now kathleen sebelius is facing similar attacks. she is featured tomorrow at georgetown yurt at their public policy institute, at the invitation of the students. they call her work on the affordable care act the most direct challenge to religious liberty in recent history. but jack dejoyus supports columnist from the "washington post" from the brookings institution and tenured professor at georgetown where kathleen sebelius is speaking tomorrow. she will speak, right? >> yes. >> at the invitation of the students. >> it was the students' idea. we always have a committee of students who make this decision. she is perfectly typical of the speakers we have. >> you had paul ryan a couple
weeks ago. >> the most important lecture is named after someone who died in 9/11, a faculty member. he gave that lecture a few weeks ago. one of the things i note, i was one of the people on the faculty who signed the letter disagreeing with congressman ryan. knew didn't want him to speak? >> the first words of the letter was welcome to georgetown. i wouldn't have signed that letter if we didn't want him to speak. that's the point. what you're seeing here is an effort to keep only liberal catholics off -- off catholics -- >> what you're seeing here is not so much the general position, pro-choice, i understand that long debate, the way they put it up, the protest, they don't want her to speak because she supports providing contraceptive services as part of health care. >> what they said is somehow georgetown was slapping the bishops in the face. this invitation went out before that final decision was made.
secondly, she has since compromised on that issue and i was critical of hhs before the compromise, and then we were for the compromise. so, yeah, so they have a zbre t disagreement. with her on this. they don't apply this rule saying when somebody disagrees with the church on the death penalty. they don't say we shouldn't have invited paul ryan when -- >> does the catholic church view the iraq war as a just war? did that meet the standard? >> the church and vatican in particular were very critical of the iraq war. to me, if a catholic university is catholic and it's a university, the university should be place where a people of a variety of views, including catholics variety of views get to present their positions. i invite people who disagree with me to my classes at georgetown. >> is the role of catholic education inquiry or indoctrination? >> think it is inquiry.
it is spreading the faith. my favorite example how to do this is the cardinal of milan, cardinal martini regularly invited atheists into his cathedral to discuss all kinds of questions including questions about god. if belief in god is not more fundamental to catholicism to anything else i don't know what is. he said the purpose of these sessions was always the same, to help people think. that's what a catholic university -- >> the funny thing is and i would say this to liberal and conservatives of every religion. when i was growing up, one of the things we always valued were the great church think eers, ha arguments in the middle of the night and argue all night their religious faith and quite confident doing it. >> the great catholic jesuit the architect of the reform vatican, too, the vatican wanted to silence him in 1954 and he became a hero of the church.
we have to keep the debate open. >> thank you, e.j. you're a good guy. when we return, what we should do if we really want to reduce the number of abortions in this country. rgy ink? ♪ power surge, let it blow your mind. [ male announcer ] for fruits, veggies and natural green tea energy... new v8 v-fusion plus energy. could've had a v8. at liberty mutual, we know how much you count on your car,
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let me finish tonight. it's a subtle recommendation to those protest iing hhs secretar kathleen sebelius. you apologize her talking because of your opposition to abortion rights. and those who like me value life, will protesting reduce the number of abortions each year and will it reduce it by one? what would? what practical workable step would reduce the number of abortions in this free country of ours? i would suggest it by reducing the number of radical unwanted pregnancies. get the young women who have sex with women to stop having unwanted pregnancy. tell them, get the word to them as parents, if they're going to have sex, that's a decision they ought to accept moral responsibility for, please use birth control to stop having
unwanted pregnancies. is the how we do things in a society that values life, not with dictatorial laws but with persuasion. i say this as someone who accepts the morality of my church but with action and not more protests. now to kathleen sebelius, it could be argued this one person has done more to stop unwanted pregnancies than anyone in this country and behind the policy to provide birth control. making birth control free will do more to reduce unwanted pregnancies than i can imagine. certainly urging people to have unwanted sex is another one and her way should have results. i know they believe they can stop abortions by protests and rallies and by stopping people from speaking at graduation ceremonies. common sense tells me the way to stop unwanted pregnancies and abortions is not a graduation ceremony, what we used to call
date, a young man and woman are together and argue against them having sex. when relationships become close and respectful, birth control is far better than an unwanted pregnancy. here in my role as a secular advisor i suggest those who think this country would be better off with radically fewer abortions begin doing something about it. kathleen sebelius deserves credit, it could be argued, doing her part, rather than protesting pro-lifers, give her a little credit. at least let her speak. that's hardball for now. now, "the ed show." good evening, americans. welcome to "the ed show" tonight from new york. a plan from republicans to dust off the jeremiah wright story is brogue up in mitt romney's face. this will rile up the liberal base. i love it. is the "the ed show." get to work. >> i'm not